January 22nd, 2011

Cheaply Mounting a Gaming Steering Wheel

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m serious about my virtual racing. I’ve been a fan of the Gran Turismo series on the Playstation for years, from before I even owned a console and used to go to my friend’s house to play it on his Playstation 2. I quickly learned that you can’t really play Gran Turismo properly with the DualShock controller — to get the most from the game, you need a decent steering wheel. Recently, I bought a Logitech Driving Force GT wheel, and it’s a superb bit of kit.

While I’m serious about my virtual racing, I don’t see the point in spending ridiculous amount of money on a mount — my steering wheel is mounted on a 199kr/£15/$18 height-adjustable desk called DAVE from Ikea. Unfortunately, the desk is far too light to be used without modification — the force feedback is powerful enough to cause the desk to kick away from underneath you when you’re gripping the wheel. Fortunately, there’s a very simple modification you can do to the desk to stop this from happening.

The solution I used is to attach the pedal box to the base of the desk, allowing the weight placed on it by your feet to keep the desk steady. This is nice and simple — the screw holes in the bottom of the pedal box line up nicely with the “arms” of the desk’s base — simply screw a couple of screws into the base at the correct places, hook on the pedal box, and you’re good to go!

Another problem with the DAVE desk is that its feet are hard plastic, which aren’t grippy on anything. Depending on your floor’s surface, you’ll need either some sticky rubber feet or some carpet spikes to keep it from sliding away from you while you’re driving. It’s also worth noting that you get a vertical driving position with this desk — you’ll need a fairly high chair (i.e., probably not your sofa) to use this without doing your back in. If you’d prefer a more horizontal position (in that the pedals are more in front of you than below), this isn’t the solution for you!

Update: I’ve found that you can get a much more natural driving position if you cut off a single guide pin and put the desk top on backwards — the pedal box then hooks to the base at the front rather than the back. This is much closer to the driving position in a typical car than if you put the desk together “correctly”. Picture at the bottom of the post.